Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Men and women of faith and courage

If life is a challenge today, if you are feeling a little bit grumpy, or...if you are feeling joyful and happy...think about the saints whose feast day we commemorate today. They are the courageous and faith-filled men and women, children, young adults, the eldery, bishops, priests, who were martyred during the 19th century in Korea. Father Andrew Kim Taegon and Paul Hasang, a husband and father, along with 103 others were horribly tortured and gave up their lives for Jesus Christ. If you want to learn a little bit more about them click on http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2011-09-20

From the last letter of St Andrew Kim Taeg┼Ćn to his parish as he awaited martyrdom with a group of twenty persons, the Korean Church was bequeathed these noble words:

My dear brothers and sisters, know this: Our Lord Jesus Christ upon descending into the world took innumerable pains upon and constituted the Holy Church through his own passion and increases it through the passion of its faithful.... Now, however, some fifty or sixty years since Holy Church entered into our Korea, the faithful suffer persecutions again. Even today persecution rages, so that many of our friends of the same faith, among whom am I myself, have been thrown into prison. just as you also remain in the midst of persecution. Since we have formed one body, how can we not be saddened in our innermost hearts? How can we not experience the pain of separation in our human faculties? However, as Scripture says, God cares for the least hair of our heads, and indeed he cares with his omniscience; therefore, how can persecution be considered as anything other than the command of God, or his prize, or precisely his punishment?...We are twenty here, and thanks be to God all are still well. If anyone is killed, I beg you not to forget his family. I have many more things to say, but how can I express them with pen and paper? I make an end to this letter. Since we are now close to the struggle, I pray you to walk in faith, so that when you have finally entered into Heaven, we may greet one another. I leave you my kiss of love.”

Dear North Korean Martyrs, pray for us

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